Marking the 50th anniversary of Loretta Lynn’s chart debut,a passel of younger singers picked by the country queen recorded new versions of her classic songs for this tribute disc. Lynn joins in, too, singing verses and harmony with Miranda Lambert and Sheryl Crowfor her signature song, “Coal Miner’s Daughter.”
As tough, if not impossible, as it is to rival the originals, country, alternative country and rock acts perform often praiseworthy renditions of Lynn’s songs.
The aptly accented Gretchen Wilson starts the show with a high-spirited take on that early feminine-empowerment song, “Don’t Come Home A Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ On Your Mind).” Lee Ann Womack drinks her blues away in a Tex-Mex-flavored “I’m A Honky Tonk Girl.” Economical though Jack White and the White Stripes are for “Rated X,” they transport the song into their rock’n’ roots world. Not so another rock act, Paramore, which does “You Ain’t Woman Enough (To Take My Man)” too minimally, using only voice and guitar.
Getting back on track, husband and wife duo Steve Earle and Allison Moorer sing up a storm in “After The Fire Is Gone” and Alan Jackson and Martina McBride shift to high harmony for “Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man.” Maybe stealing this tribute, however, the heartrending loneliness Lucinda Williams expresses in “Somebody Somewhere (Don’t Know What He’s Missin’ Tonight)” gives the collection its most poignant moments.
All in all, it’s a tribute worthy of a queen.